Not the Full-Fledged Sequel to 1942 You Want, But Still Great Fun
The overall look of the game remains the same, while the geographic location of the game has given the developers a chance to create a truly lush and diverse environment. The game indeed looks better than 1942, but not drastically. The level design is a bit more intuitive with lots of hills, creekbeds, and delapidated buildings, which also put a stop (for the most part) to snipers sitting on top of a hill and completely wiping out everyone. The abundance of foliage and vegetation also allows you to take cover from enemy air attacks even when you're in the middle of nowhere. The maps are quite large, which can be good or bad depending on how many people you have playing on your server. If you have less than 16, you might have trouble just finding someone to shoot. Also, it would've been nice to make the environment destructable especially when you're doing stuff like dropping napalm on a jungle. Speaking of which, the fog/clip-plane seems to be quite low, making it quite difficult to bomb the area you really want to before you pass it and get shot down for "deserting."
If you're new to BF, like I am, the game has a steep learning curve when it comes to the vehicles and simply getting around. The ground combat is what you have come to expect from period-piece FPS's and is easy enough to jump into. But regarding the air combat, you're going to crash a dozen helicopters and jets betore you'll have the slightest chance in getting them to do what you want. I'd recommend hopping on Single Player and toying with them for a while, because once you get the hang of it, joining the utter chaos in the sky can be quite fun. On the ground, there's a decent selection of weaponry, although it's quite unbalanced. As a U.S. soldier, there's almost no reason not to take the M60/LAW combo. Learning curve aside, the gameplay and control are still sharp.
Although a little on the gimmicky side, the featured 70's rock tracks are a great addition to the game. The music further adds to the overall experience of the historical period. All of the sound effects in the game are up to par with what we've come to expect from Electronic Arts' games. The voice work is also top-notch. Barking orders in Vietnamese is kind of cool, and the Vietnamese propaganda give you a small sense of how much of nightmare the place must've been. From the silence of hiding by yourself in the jungle, to the blaring Creedence Clearwater Revival in your 3-man Jeep, the sound in BFV is great.
Okay, the bad news...the single player mode sucks. The bots have the IQ of a palm tree, which is fitting, since the guy driving the Jeep will probably get stuck on one while revving the engine incessantly. Enemy drivers don't seem to be any smarter, as they drive right by you since apparently going to the next base is more important than eliminating the competition. The good news...multiplayer kicks ass, especially if you find a server full of people that know what they're doing. Obviously the game is intended to be focused almost completely on the online aspect, and that's where you get 99% of the value of the game. You can get up to 64 players on a server and with about two dozen different vehicles, the madness will last you a while.
As mentioned before, if you haven't played Battlefield 1942, there's a bit of a learning curve. Some type of tutorial would've been nice for new players, since almost all other FPS's have one, and they don't even explain the game types in the manual. But after some trial and error experimentation, Vietnam is one hell of an online multiplayer game. With 64 people, you can't even begin to describe the chaos of a game of Conquest involving land, sea, and air combat simultaneously on the same map. You can't customize the look of your character very much, but you do get the chance to change your kit upon the next respawn, which is nice. Battlefield Vietnam is quickly becoming the most popular game on the market; the stats on Xfire don't lie. The game is far from perfect, but it's definitely fun.